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XXCOPY TECHNICAL BULLETIN #81


From:    Kan Yabumoto           tech@xxcopy.com
To:      XXCOPY user
Subject: A minimum Win98SE Install
Date:    2003-04-08
===============================================================================

Introduction:

  In many occasions, it is convenient to have a Windows Win9X/ME
  system with a minimum set of functionality.  A typical Win98SE
  directory may grow to over 600 MB after years of use.  But, it
  can be trimmed to less than 40 MB for a mininum yet functional
  environment.  For example, when you migrate your Win9X system
  to XP, it may be useful at times to keep the minimum Win9X
  install as a dual-boot system which uses a modest disk space.
 
  There are some differences among various releases of the
  so-called "Win9X" (collectively referring to Windows 95, 95-OSR2,
  98, 98SE, ME).  Although Windows ME was the most recent release
  in the Win95 family, due to its restrictive nature (i.e., does
  not allow a smooth transition from the initial DOS stage to
  the Windows (GUI) environment. Therefore, we favor Win98SE as
  a relatively stable and easy-to-manage environment.  Since the
  variations within the Win9X family are relatively small, most of
  what you find in this article should apply to all Win9X versions.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------
     Before going into the details, let me clarify that what I
     refer to the "minimum" Windows environment is what I feel
     essential for common Windows system management, mostly file
     management operations.  That includes the ability to access
     the local area network, but not necessarily to the Internet.
     It supports fully functional "Windows" (GUI) operations with
     Explorer with mouse control.

     In short, the minimum configuration is my arbitrary choice.

      Supports                                  Removed
     ---------------------------------------   -------------------
      LAN access  External USB-Disk             Internet Explorer
      RegEdit     Scheduled Tasks               Outlook Express
      ScanDisk    Windows Explorer              Paint Brush
      DOS Box     Control Panel                 CD (music) Player 
      DeFragger   2xExplorer     (shareware)    Solitaire
      WinIpcfg    TotalCommander (shareware)    Sound Recorder
    ----------------------------------------------------------------


What to expect:

  The compactness of the Windows directory in the minimum Win9X
  system speaks a volume for its virtue.  The following chart
  was compiled from a system that I have been using and the
  directory size.  Most of us don't even remember what was the
  original size of the Windows directory when it was installed.
  So, I went back and reinstalled the Win98SE system as a clean
  install (a minimum configuration with network support).

  In the following chart, three size values are listed which
  are labeled, Initial (after a clean install), Before (the
  result of years of usage), and After (the end result of
  trimming non essential files), respectively.

   Directories                      Initial   Before    After
  ------------------------------------------------------------
   C:\windows\     (1st level only)   10 MB    22 MB     8 MB
   C:\windows\system\                 98 MB   180 MB    23 MB
   C:\windows\inf\                    12 MB    22 MB   < 1 MB
   C:\windows\java\                   11 MB    23 MB    -----
   C:\windows\sysbckup\                8 MB    18 MB    -----
   C:\windows\help\                    7 MB     9 MB    -----
   C:\windows\fonts\                   5 MB    11 MB     3 MB
   C:\windows\system32\                4 MB     4 MB     1 MB
   C:\windows\command\                 3 MB     5 MB     2 MB
   C:\windows\Start Menu\            < 1 MB   < 1 MB   < 1 MB
   C:\windows\All Users\             < 1 MB   < 1 MB   < 1 MB
   C:\windows\desktop\               < 1 MB   < 1 MB   < 1 MB
   C:\windows\(others)\               13 MB   206 MB    -----
  ------------------------------------------------------------
   Total space (size)                172 MB   500 MB    37 MB
   Total number of files              2,433    4,000      496


  When we look at the history of the Windows OS evolution from
  DOS, other than the rudimentary network support plus the GUI
  support, everything else really lies outside of the traditional
  sense of operating system.  The extra features are those which
  were once classified as applications (such as sound, image
  processing, and even video handling).  We should not lose the
  sight by Microsoft's marketing policy of bundling everything
  on earth as the so-called Windows.  Once these non essential
  parts are stripped away, Win 95 through ME should still be
  very similar.


How do we trim the excess?

  Unlike the good old DOS where just one set of files supported
  practically all IBM-compatible PCs, the Windows operating system
  is dependent on the specific combination of hardware components.
  With Windows, hardware-specific device drivers are often needed.
  This makes it unpractical to define a small set of files that can
  support most of the PCs.  The agonizingly long installation time
  for the Windows OS is spent mostly on hardware related operations.
  Therefore, the standard Windows OS contains a substantial amount
  of files that are not always needed in a particular environment.

  In order to achieve the ultimate minimum Win9X system for a
  computer,  we need to identify and eliminate what's not needed.
  And, that takes time.  The more you work, the more fat you can
  trim --- it all depends upon how much time  you want to invest.

  From a practical point of view, what most of us want is not
  necessaryly the absolute minimum configuration, but rather,
  a reasonable configuration which is nearly optimum.  After all,
  there are quite a few small files that just can't justify our
  attention.  For this article, I've written a set of XXCOPY
  command file scripts (.XCF files) which help you slash the Win9X
  directory size dramatically with a least amount of effort.
  Additional trimming of the directory size must be carried out
  by you.  To this end, I offer a few suggestions to follow.


The strategy in achieving your minimum Win9X environment.

  Since this process is a trial-and-error method, it is best
  that we keep the orininal full featured Widows directory
  intact and work on its duplicate.  It is inevitable that
  when files are removed from a working Windows environment,
  the system may become unstable, or even un-bootable.  The
  technique described here keeps this in mind and prepares a
  simple recovery method in the iterative process.  However,
  if you are a complete novice in the command line operation,
  this technique may not be for you.  If you are scared by
  this statement, you may observe what others have to say
  with this article in the XXCOPY discussion group.

  We will create a special boot diskette from which you can
  boot into either the original (MAX) Windows or the trimmed
  down (MIN) Windows from a simple menu option.  This approach
  enables us to work without disturbing the existing system
  boot setups on the hard disk.

  Let us call the special diskette, M9BSF disk which stands for
  "Minimum Win9X Boot Switch Floppy" (if only for no better name).
  The M9BFS disk used here is a variation of the Quick Boot Disk
  that was described in XXTB #32).

  When you create the M9BSF disk and restart your computer,
  you will see the following four choices in the startup menu:
  
     CURRENT    // reboot without switching
     ORIGINAL   // make the original (MAX) windows current and boot
     WIN_MINI   // make the minimum (MIN) windows current and boot
     DOS_PROMPT // stay in the DOS command prompt

   The switching between the original and the minimum Win9X
   environments is carried out by renaming the windows directories.

                              Original Mode   <--->  Minimum Mode
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
     Original Win directory   C:\WINDOWS\     <--->  C:\WINDOWS.MAX\
     Minimum Win directory    C:\WINDOWS.MIN\ <--->  C:\WINDOWS\
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    
    Note: Since WinME does not allow you to enter the Windows (GUI)
    environment directly from the initial DOS (7.1) stage, every
    time the windows directories are switched, an extra reboot is
    needed.  Windows 95, 98 and 98SE are much easier to work.


Procedure overview (See the next section for detail).

  1.  Download the minwin9x.zip file for set of script files.
      All necessary script files are pre-configured.

  2.  Prepare the M9BSF disk by formatting a system diskette
      and add a few files by running MKM9BSF.BAT.

  3.  Create the minimum Win9X directory by running MKMIN9X.BAT
      which selectively copies files from the Win9X directory.

  4.  Reboot the system using the M9BSF disk and switch to
      the new mimimum Win9x environment for the initial test.

  5.  Further remove non essential files from the minimum Win9X
      directory.  If needed, restore the orignal Win9X directory.


Step-by-step Instruction.

  1.  Boot up your computer into the Win9X (GUI) environment.

  2.  Download the following file,

        http://www.xxcopy.com/download/minwin9x.zip

        Unzip the downloded file, minwin9x.zip into the temporary directory
        (e.g., C:\MinWin9x that was created earlier as the working directory).
        You will find the following files:

         README.TXT    // a documemt file 
         WINSTATS.BAT  // show stats of the Windows directory
         MKM9BSF.BAT   // batch file to make the M9BSF disk
         MKMIN9X.BAT   // batch file to make the Minimum Windows directory
         MKMIN9X0.XCF  // xxcopy command file (Step 0)
         MKMIN9X1.XCF  // xxcopy command file (Step 1)
         MKMIN9X2.XCF  // xxcopy command file (Step 2)
         MKMIN9X3.XCF  // xxcopy command file (Step 3)
         MKMIN9X4.XCF  // xxcopy command file (Step 4)
         MKMIN9X5.XCF  // xxcopy command file (Step 5)
         MKMIN9X6.XCF  // xxcopy command file (Step 6)
         MKMIN9X7.XCF  // xxcopy command file (Step 7)
         MKMIN9X8.XCF  // xxcopy command file (Step 8)
         MKMIN9X9.XCF  // xxcopy command file (Step 9)
         MKMIN9XA.XCF  // xxcopy command file (Step A)
         MKMIN9XB.XCF  // xxcopy command file (Step B)

         M9XFILES.TXT  // list of refrence file set (by size)
         M9XFILEA.TXT  // list of refrence file set (by name)
         M9REFDIR.ZIP  // reference (skeleton) directory


  3.  Open a DOS Box ( Start > Run... [ command.com ] )
      In the remaining steps, I will provide the command line
      that you type at the DOS prompt.

  4.  Make the temporary directory that you created earlier current.

        run command:   CD  C:\MinWin9x

  5.  Format a blank diskette.

        run command:   FORMAT  A: /S

  6.  Run the MKM9BSF.BAT program in the current directory.
  
        run command:   MKM9BSF.BAT
        
        The batch file will create the following files:
  
           A:\MSDOS.SYS
           A:\CONFIG.SYS
           A:\AUTOEXEC.BAT

        These files are created on-the-fly based upon the name of
        the current Windows 9X directory (set by WINDIR setting).
        The diskette will be ready for the next reboot.

  7.  Run the MKMIN9X.BAT program in the current directory.
  
        run command:   MKMIN9X.BAT

      The batch file program will invoke a series of XXCOPY
      commands using the command files saved in this directory. 
      When the batch file is successfully executed, the new
      minimum Win9x directory will be created. 

  9.  Reboot the system using the M9BSF disk.
      Make sure that the BIOS is configured to start from
      the diskette (A:) if not set accordingly.
      
 10.  You will find the following boot menu:
 
        CURRENT    // reboot without switching
        ORIGINAL   // make the original (MAX) windows current and boot
        WIN_MINI   // make the minimum (MIN) windows current and boot
        DOS_PROMPT // stay in the DOS command prompt

 11.  Select the WIN_MINI option and enter the new minimum Win9X
      environment.  Should you find the new environment unstable,
      you may reboot the system using the M9BSF disk and select
      the ORIGINAL option to go back to the full Win9X environment.

 12.  Ultimately, it will be most convenient if you make changes
      in the XXCOPY command files (MKMIN9X?.XCF) and recreate
      the minimum Windows directory from scratch.  The XCF file
      set will serve as self-documenting scripts which can be
      used again, or become a basis for further refinements. 
 
      To obtain the statistics on the current Windows directory,
      run the WINSTATS.BAT script.

      Another useful document can be generated by the following
      XXCOPY command:
      
        xxcopy %windir%\ /LZL/S/H/NP/Q2


Refinement strategies:

  If you find, warning messages complaining a missing driver file,
  write the file name down and make necessary adjustments inside
  the Windows if you can.

  Alternatively, you may reboot and select the DOS_PROMPT option.
  At the clean DOS environment before entering Windows GUI, you may
  copy missing files from the original windows directory
  (C:\WINDOWS.MAX\).

  If you start this procedure from a Win9X system which has been
  in use for months, it is likely that the initial size of your
  minimum Windows directory may be 100 MB or more.  The first
  thing you need to do is to establish a stable Windows environment
  without encountering any warning/error message at the time of
  booting.  There are many approaches that you can take after the
  initial attempt to an optimally lean Windows directory.

  1. One of my suggestions to achieve the smallest Windows directory
     is to install a fresh Win9X directory using Microsoft's
     Install CD (choosing the minimum option).  The initial
     Windows directory size will be about 175 MB for Win98SE.
     By running the MKMIN9X.BAT program on the freshly installed
     Win9X directory, you should be able to further trim it down
     to less than 40 MB.  A fresh install of Win9X may take
     45-60 minutes.  But, it may well be quicker than any other
     method.

  2. Or, you may save some time if you study the reference files
     that are included in this package (also shown in XXTB #82.

       M9XFILES.TXT  // list of refrence file set (by size)
       M9XILESA.TXT  // list of refrence file set (by name)

     You should create a list of files in your Windows directory
     and go after large files.  The M9XFILES.TXT file will give
     you a convenient reference since it is sorted by the file
     size.  By going after the handful of largest files in
     the list, your early efforts should be rewarding.  But, as
     you go down the list of files, the return on investment in
     time will gradually decrease.

  3. Yet another method for consideration is to create a
     reference windows (skeleton) directory by unzipping the
     M9REFDIR.ZIP on your hard disk.  To conserve space, all
     the files in the reference directory are zero-byte files.

     You may use XXCOPY's advance feature to manipulate your
     Windows directory with the skeleton directory as a reference.
     
     For example the following 3-step procedure removes files
     that are 100 KB or more that are not found in the reference
     directory (the second step marks the selected files by
     Archive bit (A-bit) which will be used in the 3rd step).

       xxcopy  c:\windows\  /az/s         // clear the A-bit 
       xxcopy  c:\windows\  c:\m9refdir\  /aa/s/h/bb/sz:100k-
       xxcopy  c:\windows\  /rs/a/s/h/r   // remove files with A-bit

     Or, you may tag the files not in the reference directory
     by A-bit and use other tools such as TotalCommander to
     move files in-and-out of the directory for experiments.
     
       xxcopy  c:\windows\  /az/s         // clear the A-bit 
       xxcopy  c:\windows\  c:\m9refdir\  /aa/s/h/bb


Feedback:

  Due to the time constraints, the list of the files in my
  minimum Windows 98SE system is not the absolute minimum.
  If you find any of the files included in my list that is
  not essential to most computers, please let us know by
  posting message at the XXCOPY discussion group:

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/xxcopy/

  Please do not send me Email asking technical questions
  regarding this procedure.  I encourage you to post your
  question in the discussion group.

  

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